Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Marketing question of the week: What is the best type of collateral for my business?

Websites are terrific, aren’t they? The answer is yes. (Well, most of them.)

Great as they are though, websites are not all that tangible. 

At least, not until technology makes them so. So until such a time comes, it’s important that you have marketing collateral for your business. Not only does collateral give you tangible documents that increase your credence and professional status, but they’re the ultimate informational tool while simultaneously reminding the customer to BUY. They’re sneaky that way. 

There’s a whole slew of collateral advertising to be had out there. So which one(s) will suit your business best? Well, let’s take a look. 


Whether you’re B2B or B2C, the business card is an essential piece of advertising collateral. So that means you need them. Period. And not those stodgy black print on white stock that serve better as a table shim. Technology offers up a smorgasbord of options for business cards - so beyond the pertinent info, you can throw on a picture of yourself, your business, or your pet iguana. Whatever is gonna make it stand out. (Within reason, of course.) If it’s all too overwhelming, get yourself a solid designer. 


These are better suited for B2B than B2C and can be anything from a single folded sheet to a catalogue. Ideally something in between; to avoid either under- or overwhelming the client. The idea with a brochure is to have something to leave behind after a sales presentation, to stack on the counter at your business, to send as a direct mail or to give to people who want more information about your business.  


It’s hard to go wrong with postcards. They’re effective because they give a quick flash of your product or service in action with some brief into about your business. Think short attention span. Plus, business postcards are economical - meaning they’re relatively cheap. And they can become instant coupons. You don’t even have to add water and stir.


Do you want to entice people to spend money at your business? If not, you can skip this part. But if you answered yes, then pop out some flyers (in digital and printed form) about upcoming events at your business or trade shows in which your business will be exhibiting/participating. If you’re a B2C, include any sales you’ll be having to get them into your store or on your website.


These one-page sheets of detailed information (size, weight, different components, different materials, etc.) for each of your products really only makes sense if you’re selling or manufacturing complex products. You can bypass this if you’re providing a service. No one needs to know Zesty the Clown’s shoe size.


Newsletters and other public relations, in both snail mail and email form, give information on trends in the industry, news and reviews of your new products and services, testimonials from happy customers, or just plain interesting articles that your customers may enjoy. 


If you have a business that you believe is worthy of attention from the press for all of the right reasons (like it’s first-of-its-kind, quickly gaining popularity or is wildly unique) - then it’s a great idea to have a press kit on your website. This is a downloadable zip folder with your logo, pitch letter, press release, company fact sheet, product fact sheet, business cards, articles written about your company and background info on the business. Then if the media deems you buzz worthy, they can easily download this info.


People love free stuff.  And it can be anything. Put your logo on a freebie and people will remember the name of your business in a positive way. Try to make it something useful like a keychain or a flashlight rather than something frivolous, like a miniature singing bass to mount on a wall. Unless you’re selling those.

Ultimately, the type of collateral you choose has to make the most sense for you business. 

For example:

  • When and where will your prospects prefer to receive the information you’re offering?
  • Do you have a brick-and-mortar affair where it makes sense to distribute marketing documents in flyer form? 
  • When is email a better option? 
  • Do you want serious prospects to have to log in to your website to access certain data, such as white papers? 
  • Does your company have a sales team who can hand out marketing documents?

If you’re still unsure, worry not. Marketing/design experts can help sort it all out for you. They can advise you the most effective and economical route for your collateral marketing needs -  while discouraging you from plastering your spinach-laden winning smile all over your business cards. (Technology does have its drawbacks.)